One of the most famous Mayan sites in the Americas is without a doubt Chichen Itza, the ancient city home to the Pyramid of Kukulkan.
Located int he Yucatan Peninsula not far from Merida, this ancient city was perhaps one of the most important in the region.
The ancient city of Chichen Itza is surrounded by underground cave systems as well as cenotes which are not foreign to the region.
Recently, archaeologists led by archaeologist Guillermo de Anda, director of the Great Mayan Aquifer (GAM) project and partially funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society explored a cave system, used by the ancient Maya not far from the Pyramid of Kukulkan.
Located around three kilometers away, archeologists led by De Anda entered a cave known as Balamku, or “Cave of the Jaguar God”.
The cave was not recently discovered.
In fact, Balamku had been spotted more than fifty years ago by local farmers expanding their land.
The site was eventually visited by Mexican archaeologist Víctor Segovia Pinto who visited the cave and documented it.
However, instead of trying to excavate and recovered the items located inside the cave, he decided to seal the cave off, and prevent anyone from finding out it was there.
The paper penned down by Pinto detailing the contents of the cave was eventually lost amid countless other papers kept in the government’s archives.
But in 2018, De Anda found out about the cave and soon a mission was set up to explore the underground secrets located beneath Chichen Itza.
The cave was recently visited and researchers revealed a treasure trove of ancient Maya artifacts inside it.
The massive cave was dubbed a “scientific treasure,” by de Anda in a news conference.
According to the archaeologist, the contents of the cave could help scientists better understand the origins, lives, and beliefs of the inhabitants of Chichen Itza, believed to have been founded sometime around 750 AD.
Speaking about the cave that remained sealed for more than fifty years, de Anda explained it sits some 24 meters (80 feet) below the surface and is home to multiple chambers that are connected by narrow passages.
Some of them are so narrow that archeologists had to crawl and even drag themselves through them, De Anda added.
The cave’s exact size remains unknown.
So far, archeologists have only explored around 460 meters of the cave.
Inside the explored parts of the cave, archeologists have so far found more than 150 different artifacts, including seven incense burners and vases in the shape of the ancient Mayan rain god Chaac.
The cave will be further explored and the items that have been found inside the cave will be studied in situ, and not moved outside it.